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  • It's no real secret that through his writing, Steve Martin has depth and sentimentality that Hollywood doesn't always let him show. He has shown signs of a longing to grow old gracefully (as his almost gimmick-free gigs as Oscar host have shown) and let his acerbic wit and insight drive projects more than the over-the-top slapstick antics of the 1970s Steve Martin.

    It's also no real secret that many of his recent films have been far from great.

    So, still having faith in the man, and having loved the novel on which this film is based, I went in to the cinema desperately wanting to like it, but expecting to be disappointed. Largely, I was pleasantly surprised that the novel did transfer well to the screen.

    Some of the credit for this belongs to director Anand Tucker, who has created some powerful images of the hustle and bustle of the LA that Martin describes in the novel, and contrasts it well with the characters who lead shallow lives, trying to be something meaningful amongst all the chaos.

    Credit also goes to the actors who show that longing that drives the situation: Claire Daines as Mirabelle clearly WANTS to be social, artistic, loved; Jason Schwartzman as Jeremy WANTS to be sensitive, witty, lovable; Martin as Ray Porter clearly WANTS to be suave and considerate. Without having many jokes in the script, audiences can still appreciate the humour by seeing these pathetic struggles. When I saw it there was plenty of laughter at all the right moments.

    I will, however, hasten to add that there are parts of the book that never would have translated well to the Hollywood screen, and the praise that some give the movie for serving its purpose will contain the same reasons that others wish to knock it. The book's strength is that one can feel for the characters because they are portrayed as superficial people and their lives and conversations are so shallow in comparison to the narrative that sets them up. The reasons why it works so well as a book could well be the very things that cause it to not work on the screen. Then there's the matter of a book that's so rooted in "LA sux" sentiment being made into a Hollywood movie. So maybe the musical overkill reeked of "excuse me, we're trying to tell you something". Maybe the spots of narration felt out of place and indicated that Martin is not yet over his desire to spend his life as the 'star' of his projects (him getting top billing for the movie was also a bit much, in my opinion).

    Ultimately, maybe the audience members who were longing for a film with more 'depth' and 'substance' were in actuality sharing the characters' longings for the same in their own lives. Maybe the 'criticisms' are in fact backhanded compliments that the film is largely doing just what it's meant to do.
  • Claire Danes has become a lanky, elegant movie star in the old Hollywood tradition and "Shopgirl" showcases it without a doubt. She was always a good actress but now she's more than that. Her character is a genuine creation that moves in logical if unpredictable patterns. Steve Martin, the most self effacing of the contemporary American comedic geniuses, is becoming quasi french in his story telling style without betraying his utter Americaness. I have a feeling that he'll continue to surprise us and I for one will wait eagerly for his next move. The thinking clown if there ever was one. Jason Schwartzman belongs to the quirky Coppola, Nicolas Cageish school of acting and he is a delight. Odd and sexy in the most irresistible way. The film has an intellectual pace and a sad smile at its center. A real original American comedy for the new millennium.
  • JackCerf31 October 2005
    Edward Hopper was the great painter of urban loneliness. Shopgirl had two perfectly composed and lit shots that could pass for Hopper paintings -- the one where we first see Mirabelle behind the glove counter at Saks, and the one where she solves the problem of how exactly to cross the intimacy threshold with Ray for the first time. Both involve the display of exquisite merchandise to customers who have excellent taste but don't quite appreciate the full value of what's being offered.

    The relationship between Ray and Mirabelle is, of course, a transaction. Ray is what used to be called a sugar daddy. He knows it, and within the limits of that role he is apparently a generous and considerate keeper. We aren't given Ray's back story, but it is not hard to guess that a symbolic logician who made a fortune in computers might have been socially challenged, to put it mildly, as a young man, and suffered a good deal of rejection from women. He can now buy what he couldn't then woo, but experience has taught him never to relinquish control and never to let himself be vulnerable. A few hundred million dollars have cleaned up his exterior nicely and given him power over his surroundings, but the inner nerd is still there.

    Mirabelle certainly appreciates the value of what Ray can do for her. Consider the shot in Vermont where she gazes at her dried out, prematurely worn mother and decides she'll meet Ray in New York after all. But Mirabelle refuses to admit to herself that she is only being kept. We are meant to think the better of her for her self deception. The sluttish, annoying and frankly mercenary but cheerfully self aware Lisa is there to draw an unfavorable contrast with Mirabelle. Paradoxically, it is Mirabelle's self-deceived integrity, and her refusal to use the crude manipulations Lisa suggests, that make her a more exquisite ornament for Ray -- gourmet arm candy for a man with the finest taste. Both women are punished for self deception, but Lisa suffers only comic humiliation while Mirabelle sets herself up for real pain.

    Jeremy has the makings of a Ray in him, but we are meant to believe that he has -- implausibly -- attained emotional enlightenment, if not the capacity for articulate speech or sustained rational thought. He has earned Mirabelle, we are told, because he has remade himself to be worthy of her. Love may not conquer all in this bittersweet anti-romance, but it still does better than break even.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Let me make this easy for you. Shopgirl reminds me a lot of Lost in Translation.

    With one sentence, I am sure I have turned off more than a handful of people that are now searching other movie titles of interest.

    Funny really. Lost in Translation was one of those films that the critics adored. It was a quiet and quaint film that delivered an absorbing story without explosions or over drawn out comedic moments.

    Yet, it was one of those films that I could not find a casual film watcher enjoyed. Or even understood for that matter.

    I think it was due to its pacing and under toned performances by the two leads. Nothing was forced either in conversation and in turn, back down the audience's throat. Instead, it just went about telling the story of two people who happened to meet and make a connection.

    Shopgirl is not dissimilar. The story (based on a novella by Steve Martin) concerns well, a shopgirl at Saks Fifth Avenue named Mirabelle (played wonderfully by Claire Danes). Fresh from Vermont and trying to make it as an artist in the hustle and bustle that is Los Angeles, Mirabelle in the span of just a few days goes from someone of plain existence that the world seems to have ignored to being the apple in the eyes of two suitors that couldn't be more different from each other.

    In one corner and out of the gate first is Jeremy (Jason Schwartzman of Betwitched fame). Jeremy is the dirty weird guy that you meet in a laundromat. He seems nervous when he talks to women and his idea of a date is anything under the eight dollars he has in his wallet.

    In the other corner is Ray Porter (Steve Martin). Ray shows up at Saks one day and makes a purchase from Mirabelle that ends up on her doorstep with an invitation of dinner soon after. Porter is loaded and in his courtship of Mirabelle he is able to lavish her with gifts beyond her accepted imagination.

    But under the surface, the two suitors are even further apart than their bank balances would suggest. Porter is a man of high society who is always looking for the 'next thing' without any regard to those to which he is involved with at the time. Meanwhile, Jeremy is as sincere as it comes. He wears his heart on his sleeve and tries hard to learn about relationships in hopes of winning over the very impressionable Mirabelle.

    The story then sculpts Mirabelle's highs and lows with both men leading to her ultimate decision that is both logical and acceptable even if projected right from the opening chapters.

    Shopgirl is one of those guilty pleasures. It's good storytelling without MTV songs ringing in our ears or tragic moments that define ones future decisions. It is based in reality. Or as close to reality that Los Angeles allows.

    And much like Lost in Translation, Shopgirl's backbone is the strength of the lead actors. In particular Claire Danes, who will give Charlize Theron a run for the gold when the awards season beings in just a few weeks. As Mirabelle, she is able to project vulnerability and confidence while exuding emotions of emotional pain and heartfelt love that grounds her performance allowing us to understand her decisions even if they don't all turn out to her benefit.

    The result is one of the quietest and best films of the year that much like Lost, no one will see until it starts running on satellite early next year.
  • I went into Shopgirl with high expectations, and, unlike some other films that dissappoint me, all the hype was right this time. I loved this movie. Claire Danes was perfectly cast as Mirabelle, and seems able to pull off the "torn- between- two- men" role. Jason Schwartzman, who plays Jeremy, the first of the two men to fall for Mirabelle, is adorably goofy, and effortlessly slips into character. And Steve Martin, who plays Ray, the second (and *MUCH* older) man to fall for Mirabelle, is the kind of character who you want to dislike, but can't help falling for. I recommend this movie to anyone. It's an adorable, charming little gem of a film.
  • Greetings again from the darkness. Gotta hand it to 60 year old Steve Martin. He cranks out the easy hits like "Father of the Bride" and "Cheaper by the Dozen" so that he can do his own pet projects like the underrated "Bowfinger" and now "Shopgirl". Based on his own novella, Martin explores the mid-life fantasy of a powerful, rich businessman who takes on a beautiful, younger, unspoiled country girl from Vermont.

    While the insight into quiet desperation is always fascinating, Martin's script fails to really show any human connection between the three leads. Martin's own character, while easily the most privileged, is far and away the most distant and least interesting. The always interesting Claire Danes desperately wants to be loved and escape the ever-present cold existence of Vermont which continues to haunt her. Jason Schwartzman (fast cornering the market on quirky to the point of annoying dudes) is initially enamored with the idea of being with Claire (or anyone) but goes on the road with a rock band and finds himself ... or at least educates himself on how to fit into society.

    Not sure if any of the characters have any real redeeming qualities, but they do make for moderately interesting film-making. Bridgette Wilson (Mrs. Pete Sampras) has a fluffy role as the envious make-up queen, Sam Bottoms makes a rare screen appearance as Danes say-little Dad and Francis Conroy (Beautiful Flowers, Six Feet Under) has a brief appearance as Daines Mom. Interesting side note is that Rebecca Pigeon has a small role ... she is the real life wife of the great David Mamet.

    Although, the lighting is atrocious and distracting in most every scene, you do find yourself hoping that someone, ANYONE, discovers a moment of real happiness. Yes, this story could have been better presented, but it is worth watching to view first hand how people pretend to connect.
  • Funny and sad, sweet and acerbic, Shopgirl is quite simply the most rewarding experience of the year. I have not read Steve Martin's novel, but from what I knew of it I kinda thought the movie would be good. What I did not expect was an experience so involving, so compelling and simply so delightful. Good, interesting characters start with the writing; great characters emerge when the actors enhance the writers vision. And we see three great examples of this here.

    Everything about this film was note perfect; a terrific, slightly idiosyncratic story, wonderful scenes that sometimes have you laughing, sometimes wiping away a tear and always inviting your rapt attention. Terrific acting and direction which ensured that every scene was "just enough".

    There is a word that is hardly ever used today, and if it is, it's usually in a sneering way; and that word is "sophistication". But "Shopgirl" is a truly sophisticated movie. Not in the superficial and secondary sense of being glamorous or even cultured, but in the better sense of intelligence, complexity and subtlety. And there is real intelligence at work here; and while all involved display it, it is Steve Martin's own vision that ultimately informs every aspect of the film.

    The success of "Million Dollar Baby" gave me new respect for the Oscars; is it too much too hope that "Shopgirl" could achieve the same recognition?
  • Warning: Spoilers
    A strange new cinematic sub-genre has emerged recently: dramas of late-middle-age starring members of the original cast -- the "Not Ready for Prime-Time Players" -- of "Saturday Night Live". Steve Martin's *Shopgirl*, based on his novella, is the latest entry. One wonders, with no small sense of dread, what's going to come next: Dan Ackroyd as a lonely widower facing prostate cancer? Jane Curtin as a retiring waitress who is faced with the choice of either paying her heating bill or continuing her Zocor prescription? Chevy Chase battling a Viagra addiction? It's becoming apparent that Bill Murray's existential angst isn't his alone. The Baby Boomers have officially turned 60 this year. What this means for the rest of us is that we'll have to face old age with them, given this generation's fondness for navel gazing. Expect a slew of movies in the next several years on the topic of aging gracefully or otherwise. We may even have a sequel to *The Big Chill*, in which the characters will make passes at their grandkids' wives or husbands.

    For, as Steve Martin makes clear, Free Love is still an option for these aging hippies. He plays Ray Porter, an incalculably wealthy computer tycoon who divides his time between Seattle and Los Angeles. (He jets back and forth between them on a private plane.) While in L.A., he goes to Saks Fifth Avenue and buys a pair of elegant black gloves, becomes smitten with girl who sells him the gloves, and somehow gets her address and SENDS the gloves to her apartment along with a note asking her to dinner. Claire Danes' Mirabelle, a reserved transplant from Vermont, is the perfect prey for this roué. Martin contrasts Mirabelle with one of her co-workers, a classless, slutty Bridgette Wilson-Sampras, the type who would be too cynically wise to actually fall in love with the old man. For, despite Ray's early protestation to the contrary, Mirabelle's adoring devotedness is exactly what he wants out of this relationship of convenience. He can dominate an innocent girl with the unruffled ease to which he's become accustomed.

    I'm afraid I'm not buying any of this. Martin quite explicitly makes Ray a monster, but then goes out of his way to make sure that we like him. After all, he takes Mirabelle to the doctor when she's depressed and later on pays off her college loan. Martin then exacerbates matters by having Ray actually verbalize his awareness of his own fundamental indecency: he says things like, "The financial stuff I can help you with. It's the other stuff . . ." and so on. Oh, please. WHY must we like Ray Porter, anyway? Does it have something to do with the fact that he is Steve Martin's creation, perhaps? Never underestimate the egotism of writers.

    And to make sure that the 60-year-old seems like a Dream Come True for Mirabelle, Martin conceives his more age-appropriate romantic rival Jeremy (the grotesquely hairy Jason Schwartzman) as a borderline retard with the most obscure profession I've yet seen in film: a stencil artist for guitar amplifiers. Jeremy lumbers around the early portions of the film in slack-jawed idiocy, leaving in his wake, Pig Pen-like, a cloud of body odor and a trail of body hair. He keeps hitting up Mirabelle for money in order to "pay" for their dates. He drives a crappy car. Get the picture? Later in the film, Jeremy becomes a mature adult after listening to cheesy self-help tapes while touring as a roadie with a rock band, the maturity made evident by Schwartzman's shaved face, slicked-back hair, and natty white suit (by a name-designer) that looks to be pulled from the rack of the Miami Vice fashion police. (By the way, what IS it with these type of movies having a recurring motif of self-help tapes? -- cf. *Lost in Translation*. This is something MARTIN'S generation does! The Dot Net kids mock that stuff!) I'm pretty positive that Martin wrote the novella with a possible film in mind in which he would star as Ray -- and, if so, what a stunning display of pettiness, to say nothing of sheer egomania. Some competition, eh? Do Ray and Jeremy really constitute the choices for a beautiful girl in her twenties: a 60-year-old roué and a slacker who behaves like a 12-year-old? You know, French films frequently tackle this subject matter, but the girl is given a reasonable alternative between a still-vital handsome professional in his forties and a good-looking, charming kid. In *Shopgirl*, it's either the suave King Midas of Social Security age or a bum. Give me a break.

    Finally, one gets the sense that it's really all about the money for Steve Martin. A lot of name-dropping going on, here: Armani, famous L.A. restaurants (Ray and Mirabelle eat take-out from Spago at Ray's elegantly post-modern house), and so on. Don't forget Jeremy's transformation in that name-designer white suit. Martin couldn't even come up with a fake name for Saks. If he was trying to be satirical about crass commercialism, it must have sailed over my head: the comforts of Ray's life are presented as a glamorous option for Mirabelle, if she just plays along. Martin, in a third-person narration, sums up the action of the film at the end by suggesting Mirabelle would have stayed with Ray if he had loved her just a bit more. Turns out that, to modify Paul McCartney, money can ALMOST buy you love. It never occurs to this Baby Boomer that a healthy, wholesome, decent young woman might want to build a life with someone her own age. *Shopgirl* is a pathetic chauvinist fantasy that isn't as aware of this fact as it thinks it is.

    2 stars out of 10 -- the second star earned by some occasionally fanciful direction by Anand Tucker.
  • jotix10012 November 2005
    "Shopgirl", the magnificent novella by Steve Martin, finally arrives as a movie that expands on the text, as Anand Tucker, its director, demonstrates. Steve Martin also adapted his own story, which works well with the movie version since he knows what he wants to say and how to present the story in cinematic terms.

    This film is about how sometimes a man, who evidently is a successful business person, can't see what he does to a woman who, in spite of the warnings, has fallen deeply in love with him. Ray Porter, is an egotistical man, incapable of expressing his emotions unless they are in the form of material things. Ray is an empty man who can buy whoever he wants to be with, but who demands there will be no strings attached to any sort of relationship.

    Mirabelle, the young gloves sales lady at Los Angeles' Saks 5th Ave., is a lonely girl who has relocated to the city from Vermont. It's hard for anyone in that environment to connect with people, especially in a place like L.A. where no one talks to one another and everyone seems to be impressed with celebrities that are to be seen everywhere. Mirabelle is destined to a life of loneliness until two men appear at about the same time, the goofy Jeremy, and Ray Porter.

    Jeremy likes Mirabelle in his own crazy way. Mirabelle responds to him because he means easy companionship without complications. When Ray appears on the scene, Mirabelle has no clue about what she is getting in for. Before anything, Ray makes it clear he wants no commitment, and no attachment. It's just a convenient situation for him as he has calculated that Mirabelle is perhaps a sexual diversion, at best. He finally reveals what he really has in mind when he tells the girl his intentions for the New York apartment, something that he hasn't included her in, at all.

    This bittersweet story comes alive because of Claire Danes great performance as Mirabelle. Ms. Danes is perfectly cast as Mirabelle. Steve Martin's characterization as Ray Porter, is superb in his take about this man. Mr. Martin clearly understands what this man is really like and what makes him tick. Both these actors contribute to making their characters feel real.

    On the other hand, the goofy performance from Jason Schartzman is distracting from the other story. The best sequence involves the beautiful Bridgette Wilson in thinking Jeremy is the real Ray Porter.

    The excellent cinematography by Peter Suschitzky gives "Shopgirl" a sophisticated look that goes perfectly with the story being told. Anand Tucker directed with elegance and a sure hand making the film a winner.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I simply do not understand how other people on this site could have given this score above, say, oh, a three. As a comedy, it fails; it isn't at all funny. As a drama, it fails; you are never given any reason to connect with the characters, and the so called twists (Steve martin sleeps with some random woman, Jeremy returns to town in a new suit) don't do anything to alleviate the mind crushing boredom. As a romance, it fails; the main characters are essentially shag partners, not really romancers. The acting was bearable, but it was just so BORING. Nothing happened throughout the whole movie, and other than that, nothing was explained. Why did Steve Martin take a like to the shopgirl? Indeed, why should we care? It was narrated towards the beginning of the film that this girl had value; which put me in the mindset of her getting a better job and putting her life back on track, not working at the EXACT same job, the only difference being her new sex buddy Steve Martin (who by the way, could easily be the girls father). The one liners are awful, and it is just so mind numbingly tedious. The people who claim that this is the best film they have ever seen are either clinically insane or have exceptionally poor taste. One of the people who reviewed this claimed that it was "a continuation of Steve Martins bitter humour," which it clearly wasn't, as there were no jokes. At least not funny ones. Steve Martin needs to loosen up and stop appearing in poor mens children comedies, and absolutely mind numbingly terrible romances. Add to it a non-ending and you've got yourself the worst movie of 2005. Edit: Saw a little of this a few weeks ago, (August 08) and it's still just as shite.
  • Carouself31 December 2006
    Warning: Spoilers
    I cannot in a million years understand why anyone would give this movie a good review. There was never a reason for anything in the plot, there was no character development anywhere, and the dialogue was close to nearly non-existent. Are we supposed to feel sorry for this young, naive girl who first sleeps with a complete idiot who she can hardly stand being around? Who then turns around and starts having a long affair with an uninteresting senior citizen older than her father who makes it known up front that he has no long term interest in her? The only twists are when idiot and sleeze-ball also get some on the side. How do we suddenly go from Jeremy sleeping with blonde-bimbette counter girl who is trying to take naive Vermont I'm-not-a-prostitute-but-I'll-let-him-pay-for-anything-and-everything girl's sugar daddy, to the first two being back together and madly in love? Nothing makes sense this whole movie. You keep thinking it might suddenly come together and become more than black and white, BUT IT NEVER DOES. SKip this stinker. It's not worth the 50¢ it cost me to rent it.
  • Shopgirl is about a young 20-something woman, Mirabelle (Claire Danes) who works selling gloves at Saks Fifth Avenue in L.A. She spends most of her day behind the counter with not much to do and at night she goes home alone to her apartment in Silverlake, with only her cat to keep her company. She dreams of being an artist and of a man who will one day sweep her off her feet and awaken her drab and lifeless existence.

    Later on she meets two completely different men. The first one she meets is Jeremy (Jason Schwartzman), who works as a font designer for a company that sells amplifiers to rock bands. Jeremy is hopelessly clueless about the nuances of romance, naive, bumbling, and goofy. However, Mirabelle does plant the seeds of ambition in his mind to go out and do something significant in his life, which he does in going out on the road with a rock band. Toward the end of the movie, we see that Jeremy has changed for the better, and he evolves as a person as well. He was very funny and the surprising comic relief in the film. The scene where the gold-digging rival shopgirl Lisa (Bridgette Wilson-Sampras) mistakes Jeremy for Ray Porter was especially funny.

    The second one is Ray Porter (Steve Martin), a handsome, rich, sophisticated older man who meets Mirabelle at Saks and buys a pair of gloves from her. He then sends her the gloves as a present and asks her out to dinner. Mirabelle is intrigued by Ray and decides to go out to dinner with him. She thinks it is flattering that he has noticed her. Once she gets to know him, she falls in love. Ray thinks he makes it clear to her that he isn't looking for a serious commitment. Mirabelle, however, is serious about Ray and loves him completely. This is where the complications ensue in their relationship.

    Martin's performance was smooth, polished, and charming, but also emotionally detached, as his Ray Porter character struggles not to become emotionally involved with Mirabelle, but it was evident in the things that he does for her that he cared her for almost in a paternal way. I never thought of Martin as a dashing leading man, but he excelled in his role. No one else could have played Ray Porter, as it was his story and he understood the characters better than anyone. Martin and Danes exhibited a kind of wonderful chemistry together, a special kind of sexual tension that crackled on the screen, especially in the scene where she is waiting on his bed for him nude and they make love for the first time or when Mirabelle puts on the gloves that Ray has bought for her and she is wearing nothing else.

    The character of Mirabelle is a girl one would consider a "plain jane", not the most physically beautiful, but Danes's performance conveyed a kind of inner beauty that radiated from within, very much a spiritual beauty. Especially in the scenes with Martin, she had a sensuality of a woman who really experiences passion and love for the first time in her life, and pain.

    Throughout the movie we can see the kind of evolution that takes place from a woman who is shy, timid, and almost emotionless to someone who is more confident, more grown-up and self-assured. Why Danes was not nominated for a Golden Globe or an Oscar is beyond me. She was completely convincing and believable as Mirabelle and brought the character of the lonely, troubled, beautiful young woman to life.

    However, this movie is not without flaws. One of the biggest is the score. I believe the score was meant to be like an homage to the old Hollywood movies of 30s & 40s, but it was intrusive, over-the-top, and very melodramatic. I believe less would have been more in the case of a movie like Shopgirl. Another flaw was the narration. Martin's narration of the scenes in the movie were self-explanatory and completely unnecessary.

    Overall, the movie was excellent, wonderful, funny, sad and very faithful to Martin's novella. I would recommend reading the novella first before seeing the movie, as the novella is also very good. It is a good romantic date movie. Good performances by all, especially Ms. Danes. It took an interesting perspective on the May/December romance, through the eyes of a female protagonist, even though the story was written by a man. It also said a lot about what men and women expect from relationships, and how love can be heartbreaking and painful, yet wonderful and beautiful at the same time. It is also about a woman discovering more about life, love, and most of all, herself. Highly recommended.
  • Just saw it... Wow! What an EXCELLENT movie! Several appropriate quotes come to mind: There's hope for love, yet! I may be a GUY and all that, but it was definitely handkerchief time a few times during this movie!

    I'd like to get the ONLY negative observation out of the way at the start, I feel Steve Martin could have skipped some of the voice overs, or STOPPED earlier, giving us SOME credit for appreciating the situation, without having to spoon feed it to us in case we missed it. If that had been skipped it would have been PERFECT. - I realize, though, in today's numbed (read that as "dumb") society some of the people may not get the whole story, so I guess the thinking people must make allowances for him trying to put his point across to them, but there you go.

    This is a great LOVE date movie. You can even expect to get married soon after you see it with a partner! Also expect it raising questions in your relationship. Where you're going with it, will it be going anywhere, etc.

    In case you haven't seen it, here's a quick plot synopsis: It's somewhat romantic a story of a girl working at a rather expensive department store who dates two guys who are very different. First the young, uncouth, immature and impulsive guy. Then a rich, suave, intense and sophisticated guy (Steve Martin). Basically it's a moral tale that puts her in various situations which puts the audience sympathy on her side. It is unfair, the way she is treated, and if it inspires someone to be more less like the characters, more truthful and honest, it will have served it's purpose, and entertained you at the same time.

    That's what makes it so great.

    It's one of these movies where you leave feeling you're a better person than when you came into the cinema.
  • I had always liked Steve Martin until I saw this movie. Before, in my estimation he was a solid comedic actor. Now, he just pronouncedly looks like a dirty old man.

    To even assume that a young girl would truly fall for a man 34 years her 'Senior' is mostly just a man's fantasy. It's not completely impossible, but then you'd have to look into the psychological reasons of the young girl, such as; needing a Daddy figure, wanting a Sugar Daddy, or feeling inadequate sexually herself, so she finds acceptance in a hard-up old man.

    At the end of the movie, via voice-over dialogue; the filmmakers try to cover-up the true sleazy advantageousness of the Ray Porter character by copping out of the 'real' truth of the man that was viewed throughout; that he used the young girl as arm candy and for self-serving reasons; to feel better, more youthful about himself.

    More of the same stereotypical stuff. Seen it before, and we'll see it a thousand times more until viewers get tired of these same ol' visuals; old men with young girls.

    Evolve please. Older women are just as beautiful. They're just not 'perceived' that way because of the many, many movies like this one!
  • dizzjay15 May 2007
    I didn't finish watching this film. I almost turned it off near the beginning because it was so boring, but decided to wait until Steve Martin appeared to see if it picked up at all. It didn't. I didn't believe in the relationship between Danes and Martin, she didn't seem like the kind of character that would be seduced with gifts of expensive gloves by a man 34 years older. It might have been believable if Steve Martin was handsome or charming, but he was neither. There was zero on-screen chemistry between Martin and Danes. The photography, lighting, music and acting were all excellent, just a poor script. One of the signs of a weak script is the use of voice over, like when Danes and Martin are having dinner and suddenly there's Steve Martin's voice over explaining what Claire Danes is thinking. Things like that should be demonstrated in the acting - show, don't tell.
  • ...........................................................from Pasto,Colombia...Via: L.A. CA., CALI, COLOMBIA...and ORLANDO, FL

    SHOPGIRL, sadly, turned out to be quite a disappointment to me. Steve Martin is one of its three protagonists; here he is also credited with the screenplay, making an adaptation from his own novel of the same name. I have always been quite a fan of Steve Martin and his films. However, SHOPGIRL left me rather perplexed. In its story-line development, it is meticulous and detailed and, as a consequence, is rather plodding and, for lack of a better word, "slow".

    SHOPGIRL imparts the viewer with the constant sensation that something transcendent is just about to happen. A kind of "perpetual-motion expectation", which, when it finally does take place, ends up being utterly anti-climactic. In all fairness to SHOPGIRL, at least in one sense or another, this is, more often than not, precisely what we experience in real life! But the painful inconvenient truth here is that there already have been too many movies that have shared this "secret" of life with us.

    Quite frankly, one more appears to be just one too many! Unless you are a world-class Claire Danes and/or Steve Martin fan, you'll be much better off if you don't let yourself get involved with SHOPGIRL. 4*

  • I just got home after watching it, and I really think I lost a couple hours with something pretty much meaningless.

    I thought it was going to be a fun movie, but it ended up being a "nothing" movie. At least, wait until you can see it at home, so you don't regret about paying too much and you can stop watching it at any time.

    Anyway, I'm really surprised people are giving it good reviews. Could be that I wasn't in the right mood, although I don't think it was that.

    This had to be a 10 lines of text review, and I don't think it is worth writing that much about this movie. Just wanted to alert people about what to expect.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Watch "Lost in Translation" and then this, and ponder why the former is a gem and this an interesting failure. A thirty minute contemplation will be as worthwhile as film school. This film feels tragically inorganic, desperately edited and re-edited, and then suffused with a narration that basically admits the original attempt at narrative didn't work. Claire Danes, without whom this film would probably not really merit this much discussion, is nevertheless ironically miscast. There is an exquisite elegance to Danes that implies her character possesses a profundity that's not really there. It tricks you into at first into believing there is more to the film than there actually is. It's a glimmer of Kieslowki padded out with a huge dose of Hamburger Helper, a cri de couer that's ultimately smothered by inadequate direction. I don't understand why Martin didn't direct it himself, so that if it were to fail, it would fail on the original auteur's terms. I'm not someone who glibly points to an excess of voice over as a sure fire indication that the material is not there, but in this case it's unmistakable. Martin's narration sounds like a glowing interpretation of the film he would like to have made, a film which would have allowed viewers to draw inferences rather than having them explained. An uneasy marriage of the French 'art' film, the undershot student film, and the bang'em over the head Hollywood film. We can learn much from failure, and for budding confessionalist filmmakers,this is an object lesson.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This movie was good because it was so awful. I saw The Jerk within the last two years, and once I overcame the urge to walk out of the theater I laughed more at Shopgirl. (For those who've seen it, remember Steve Martin's Ray Porter "heroically" pushing a pill out of the foil for Claire Danes? Words fail to capture how pathetic that scene was, but on screen, the magic of cinema reveals the wonderful power of unintentional comedy.) Not even Mariah Carey's Glitter or Keanu Reeves' Sweet November could rival this film for unintentional humorous scenes. For that quality alone, it should still be showing nationwide. And for that, too, Steve Martin should return to comedy. His crossover to drama, apparently in imitation of his colleague Bill Murray, is sad and misguided. Who read his script and okay-ed it? The director Steve Martin as Executive Producer paid to make his film? For that matter, who read his novella and recommended it? Steve Martin needs to make at least a single friend who will tell him the truth no matter what, truths like "Shopgirl sucks, and you have idea how deeply embarrassed you will be after it." Thank God there were some negative reviews. The problems with this movie occur on so many levels (script, direction, shot selection, continuity, editing, etc. ad nauseum), a thorough critique would undoubtedly be longer than Mr. Martin's "novella." To begin with, Mr. Martin's notion of human personality types is, put kindly, immature. Apparently, women in LA are either artistic quiet non-natives who dress with quirky (i.e., absolutely terrible) vintage/thrift styles incapable of manipulating people's emotions OR Beverly Hills stereotypes -- women who only want trinkets from men, dress ostentatiously, act like expensive prostitutes, etc. Even the "doctor" friend of Mr. Martin in the film has only her own satisfaction in mind. In the end, however, a major contradiction occurs. After hurting Claire Danes' character, she discovers that Steve/Ray has paid off her student loans. Her Beverly Hills counterparts at the department store would never be capable of getting $39,000.00 in one fell swoop from the men they bilk and cheat through sex. Girls from Vermont, runs Mr. Martin's logic, are even bigger whores than the plastic clichés he shoves down the audiences throat. The men fare little better. Ray Porter and Schwartzmann's characters (the latter being the ONLY redeeming role in the film, and not until the second half of the film -- and without Rushmore, the role would've seemed even weaker) are ridiculous. Both are wildly improbable lovers for Danes' character. Why would a pure, wholesome, ingénue from Vermont like Ray Porter? Steve Martin isn't good looking enough to seduce a younger woman even with millions of dollars. His wealth also reduces any chance that middle-class men will relate to him in any imaginable way, other than their pathetic salivation at Mr. Martin's quotidian middle-aged fantasies.

    Two great lines (slightly paraphrased), both Schwartzmann's, and INtentionally comedic show why Mr. Martin needs to abandon his sad-old-rich-guy schtick and pick up a banjo: 1) "It feels like marshmallows hitting my balls." 2) "I was reading this book-on-tape..." These harken back to Martin's glory days, days when he said things like, "This is the best pizza-in-a-cup I've ever had." I have to finish. I apologize for going on. I have no animus toward Steve Martin, but this film was shockingly bad turns wonderfully open to attack. See it without accepting its premises, and I promise you'll be shocked how funny it is.
  • My girlfriend and I sat through this movie till the bitter end thinking that at some point it might get better. Alas, it did not. This is by far the worst movie I've seen in a theater in a very long time (perhaps ever). The characters are completely unlikeable, the character development is non-existent, and what little dialog there is is filled with stupid/corny one-liners. I can't believe some critics liked this movie. One of the worst things about this movie is that it so obviously tries to be cool and artsy when in fact it is pure crap. Were critics afraid to be honest about this film because they felt bad for Steve Martin?? That's the only reason I can think of for why this horrible movie was given fairly good reviews. The New York Times gave it an A-!!!! What?!?!?!? Save 2 hours of your precious lives and never watch this movie, in the theater or at home.
  • Pretty much Shopgirl the movie is just as bad as the book. The same droll marimba plays the same "fantasy" loop over and over again in the most inappropriate places as if its some goofy Cinderella story. Enter fairy godmother with the weird music. The music selection is poor overall. The one redeeming aspect of the soundtrack could have been the rock music played while looking over the skyline. Instead, it transitions into some crappy band. There are several scenes that should have been cut because they just don't contribute anything to the movie. Overall, it was cliché, trite, a waste of a blockbuster rental. Anyone with any sort of intelligence or critical eye will find this movie extremely aggravating because of how thinly uninspiring it is. The only reason I sat through the entire thing was so I could waste my time criticizing it.
  • This film is worth minus 10. It is so bad that it inspired me to vote the first time ever on any type of internet site, not just a movie related site. The plot was totally incredible; Ray Porter's character was a cross between a stalker and a 'john' who has an unusual way of selecting prostitutes; Jeremy's character was implausible; once again we had people living there lives in America without any reality checks on how bills actually get paid, wages are earned, friends are made etc etc; there are to many trite points to list them all - except for the clincher at the end (I could be more specific, but it might be misread as a spoiler which is not my intent.)I hope my review saves you some bucks to spend on a better film.
  • Adapted by Steve Martin from the novella by Steve Martin and starring Steve Martin this constipated and passionless romance film it is fair to say can be blamed on this one time wild and crazy guy gone serious. The book, brief as it is runs out of steam after a promising start and this basically three character film would probably stagger around in the same lugubrious stupor were it not for the way Martin has to turn one of his characters into a zany deus ex machina in order to jolt some life into it for the film's bittersweet happy ending.

    Vermont transplant Mirabelle Butterfield is an undiscovered artist working as a sales clerk at Sak's Fifth Avenue in LA. Unfulfilled and lonely (even her cat won't come out to greet her upon returning from a day's work)she meets and dates two completely different men. Jeremy is a man child that finds wonderment in neon signs and sees no problem in using plastic sandwich bags for a condom. Then there's sophisticate Ray Porter who has homes in LA and Seattle and gets around by private jet. Jeremy is quickly jettisoned once Mirabelle feels she has something more serious and tangible in her relationship with the wealthier and older Ray so he gets a job as a roadie and goes on tour with a rock band. Meanwhile Ray's feelings remain ambiguous. It eventually goes bad in the most mannerly of fashion just in time for the freshly scrubbed Jeremy to reappear.

    Shopgirl has a sleek trendy look to it with it's stylish sets and well heeled characters roaming the upscale store, chic museums and fine restaurants as well as Porter's sterile residences. But the film plods along at an uninteresting pace because the film never really gets deeply into the characters. Without the interior monologue of the novella director Anand Tucker seems content to allow his characters to tell their stories with wan expressions of joy and sadness. To make sure you don't miss these telling glances he spends a lot of time overusing slow motion and employing a prodding music score to bring some life to the characters.

    Claire Danes does what she can with the glum Mirabelle and it's not a whole lot since Tucker seems content to just film her pretty face in a series of reactions. She and Martin have some decent scenes with each other (especially when she attempts to cut back on her anti-depressent)but the relationship for the most part is tepid. Steve Martin is a disaster as Ray lacking the actors chops to show any emotion, even the restrained variety that the non-committal Porter protects himself with. In order to balance these dull lifeless creatures Tucker and Martin turn Jeremy (Jason Schwartzman) into a lovable shaggy dog, cutely clueless and upbeat.

    Shopgirl is Woody Allen territory without the comic irony and Erich Rohmer land without the introspection or depth of character. It's well mannered has a nice veneer but lacks the energy to ever really take off. Jeremy and Ray are cliché polar opposites, (old wild and crazy Steve versus the mature and refined Steve)but naturally caring and compassionate in their own way. Martin and Tucker refuse to employ negative capability to either character thus diluting the film's somber dramatic tone even more. Ray's passive interest lacks edge in either direction and the selfishness of his actions are betrayed by the makers need to almost make him as sympathetic as Mirabelle, thus stealing her thunder and reason to rage. It undermines Shopgirl which drably plays it safe from beginning to end.
  • This was a huge disappointment, I knew it was probably going to be awful, but not like this.

    It is pretty much Steve Martin's fantasies about a naked young woman body, preferably close to his. I like Claire Danes, but this was a big minus on her list. She's cool, so what is she doing in this crap film, where Steve Martin is reading his manuscript aloud, in case you don't understand what he want you to feel and think.

    The manuscript is based upon Martin's own novella, he is directing it and playing one of the main characters. Some people just get to much money, so they can do all of their dreams, just which I could get Martin's dreams out of mu head.

    A waste of my time, give it back to me, someone please?!
  • Seriously. First off, it's ridiculously patriarchal. The "protagonist" is an underdefined pathetic woman with no self-confidence, and by the end of the film she has grown and developed to such a degree that...she's still all of the above, only now she can trust Jeremy to take care of her. Seriously, this character as written is pathetic. She constantly objectifies herself (even her art is images of her body), seemingly has no opinions or distinctive personality traits, and eagerly embraces relationships in which she is a supplicant for a man's affection. In fact, I think you could make the case that she's not even the real protagonist, given how little we actually learn about her. Rather, it is the Steve Martin character's impression of her, and, as the plodding "telling not showing" voiceovers make clear, it's really his story rather than hers that's the focus of the film.

    OK, so it's patriarchal and sexist and treats all its female characters as different varieties of whore. (Isn't that why the blonde co-worker is in the film, to make the Claire Danes character seem like less of a tramp by comparison?) Why is she with this guy other than (a) just not to be alone and (b) because he buys her stuff? So this is what passes for love these days.

    For that matter, isn't Jeremy such a ridiculously over-the-top screwup in the first act simply because otherwise the relationship between the two leads would be offensively sleazy? Seriously, I've known lots of screwups in my life, and none of them are this oblivious. This character is totally make-believe- a person this incompetent would be unable to maintain themselves. This makes it even more ludicrous when after a few months of self-help tapes he suddenly has a nice car and respectable clothes and a significantly different personality (which, as it happens, is still never shown as meshing with the "protagonist") So with these few changes he is now a decent enough man for the "protagonist", despite falling into a shallow sexual escapade with the blonde tramp.

    And technically the film is pretty dreadful as well. Establishing shots tell you it's L.A., Seattle, or NYC, but there's never a sense a place. The same camera angles are repated over and over, and not to any aesthetic or symbolic effect. The musical score is effective at first, but then it's the same thing over and over no matter what's happening on screen. It's a very thin story made even thinner by the complete lack of character development. They're not archetypes, they're not stereotypes- but they're most certainly NOT fully developed individuals, either. It's painful watching Claire flailing from scene to scene without emotional continuity or even a vaguely coherent identity. Is she seriously mentally ill or does she just have a few self-confidence issues? Has she been a victim of some sort of abuse? Or is she happy and well-adjusted other than just needing to be loved? I never felt like I was watching anything other than Claire trying to act.

    About the only thing this film does right is that they do a beautiful job of filming Claire's body. And that's just not enough.
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